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IRC Statement on first UN Security Council Resolution on Yemen

First UN Security Council Resolution on Yemen in four years is a long overdue step toward ending war.

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London, UK, December 21, 2018 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) welcomes the adopting of the first UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Yemen in four years, and is pleased that it reflects a commitment to the vital work of the UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths.

Following peace talks in Rimbo, Sweden, a practical resolution with two basic components was urgently needed. The first requirement was text that codified the ceasefire in Hodeidah governorate and was responsive to the Special Envoy’s clear requests for Security Council support to deploy  a robust monitoring mechanism answerable to the UNSC, and for an endorsement of troop withdrawal from the critical port city of Hodeidah. In addition, the resolution had to reflect the urgent realities of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe by demanding commitments to address barriers to humanitarian access into and within Yemen and reflecting violations of International Humanitarian Law committed by all warring parties.

Today’s resolution, was able to deliver on these requirements.

Frank Mc Manus, Yemen Country Director at the International Rescue Committee said, “Today, at last, the Council has taken a much needed step to respond to the urgency of the humanitarian disaster as well as the international community’s growing outrage and desire to put an end to the brutal war in Yemen. The IRC commends the UK, France and other security council members in their resolve  to secure today’s resolution and put their weight behind the effort of the Special Envoy. With more than 20 million Yemenis facing severe hunger, and 10 million on the brink of famine, it is imperative the agreements reached in Sweden are implemented effective immediately, and all parties to the conflict commit to further talks in January.

The UN monitoring team established by this resolution responsible for regular reporting on the ceasefire in Hodeidah is a critical outcome. Violations of the fragile ceasefire in Hodeidah could reverse the progress made over the last month -- undermining the peace process as well as the humanitarian response.

Yet, a political solution to this crisis will take time that Yemenis who cannot feed their families do not have. Agreed upon steps to facilitate and improve the humanitarian response and the call on warring parties to adhere to international humanitarian law to protect civilians are imperative. The IRC calls on the international community to double down on efforts to hold warring parties to account for these commitments. Progress on these steps cannot be beholden to political negotiations and wrangling. Improved humanitarian access into and around Yemen, the opening and full functioning of all Yemen’s ports and airports, and the payment of vital public sector workers will save lives and can avert a full-fledge famine. The stakes have never been higher.

While these welcome political developments progress, the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to decline. It is critical that the warring parties and the international community do not lose focus. Regional actors have a critical role to play in resolving this crisis and must now refrain from any actions that may undermine the fragile progress made. Maintaining their support and engagement should now be the priority of their international partners. The agreements codified in this resolution are only the first steps on the a long road to a peaceful and stable Yemen. Now, words must be translated into actions.”

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.